The following post has been adapted from content provided by David Clayton, Director of FirstHand.
A StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant of $25,000 helped Round 3 recipient FirstHand inspire Philadelphia’s next generation of STEM professionals. The FirstHand program at the University City Science Center provides a unique opportunity for Philadelphia youth to explore the world of science and design in a hybrid bio-lab makerspace. The FirstHand Lab is located within one of the Science Center’s three startup incubators, where middle and high school students have the opportunity to discover new career pathways by interacting with the Science Center’s resident scientists and engineers, who are developing amazing new technologies such as immunotherapy and advanced 3-D bioprinting.
The grant enabled FirstHand to purchase a laser cutting and engraving system, high-tech equipment normally only used by industry professionals. Middle schoolers work in small teams to create original designs and product ideas; using a laser cutter allows them to rapidly change and evolve their ideas through the prototyping process. In this manner, FirstHand is utilizing the laser cutter and other tools purchased using the Call for Ideas Grant to empower young people interested in the STEM fields.
The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.